While recording a software demonstration using the Camtasia Recorder, you have two choices when it comes to the file format for your video capture: TREC and AVI. Audio Video Interleave (AVI) is a popular Microsoft format that can contain both video and audio. It plays nicely on multiple devices and operating systems. AVIs can be imported into the Camtasia Editor or other eLearning development tools and multimedia editors. TREC files are a proprietary format developed by TechSmith. As with AVI files, TRECs can contain audio and video and can be imported directly into the Camtasia Editor. However, unlike AVI files, TRECs cannot be edited or imported into any other development program (such as Adobe Captivate or Articulate Storyline).
Prior to recording, you can switch between the AVI format and TREC format by choosing Tools > Options. On the General tab, you’ll find both options in the Saving area, Record to drop-down menu.
Because AVIs are the more widely-accepted video format for non-Camtasia developers, it makes sense that you should choose AVI when using the Camtasia Recorder to create videos, right?
Not so fast.
If you create an AVI and then import it into the Camtasia Editor, you won’t be able to add effects to the recorded cursor. Beyond cursor data, the TREC format captures keyboard shortcuts, the webcam, and audio (all of which are editable once the TREC is imported into Camtasia).
In my experience, it’s best to always use the TREC format when recording with the Camtasia Recorder. Keep in mind that if you need an AVI at any point, you can select AVI when Sharing (Publishing).
Kevin Siegel, CTT, COTP, is the founder and president of IconLogic. Following a career in Public Affairs with the U.S. Coast Guard and in private industry, Kevin has spent decades as a technical communicator, classroom and online trainer, public speaker, and has written hundreds of computer training books for adult learners. He has been recognized by Adobe as one of the top trainers world-wide.